Before the end of the winter approaches, every gardener considers what will grow the coming season. Do you find it no more challenging to grow tomatoes, paprika and cucumber? Do you want something else? Something more exotic? What do you think of the idea to grow your own tea this year?!
The tea plant (Camellia) has 50 species of evergreen tropical and subtropical shrubs or small trees of which the most known is the Chinese tea plant (Camellia sinensis). This ancient plant originates from the South and South East of China and adjoining countries – India, Burma, Vietnam and Laos, where these plants are cultivated for centuries. Although this plant is cultivated throughout the tropics, the most important producers still remain China, India, Sri Lanka and Japan.
Growing your own tea is not difficult at all. The most important part of the process is the purchase fresh seeds, because tea seeds lose their viability rapidly. Seed are rounded. Before planting you should soak it for around 2 to 3 days. After this, it should be planted in well-drained and aerated soil. At a temperature of 20–25 º C, the seed germinates within 2–4 weeks. If planted in a sunny place, the young plants grow very fast and plants that are only six months old could already be pruned. Thanks to the correct manner of pruning, one can create a beautiful crown and obtain your own raw material for the production of your own tree.
In tropical or subtropical areas tea can be grown in the garden, but should be kept in house or in a greenhouse in areas where frost appears. A hot summer and sufficient water are the perfect conditions for the tea plant – this is the conditions where it thrives in its countries of origin.
If you are not living in tropical areas, even if the tea that you grow in your own garden or on your own balcony may not satisfy the quality norms of the tea being grown in tropical areas, you will be rewarded with great pleasure when the plant rewards you for your care with beautiful large white flowers.
If you live in areas where frost appears, during the winter, you should place the tea plant against the windowsills. Because the tea plant is evergreen and would probably not get enough sun in the winter, it will most likely wither and loose some leaves. However, with the arrival of spring it will rapidly improve ant you will be able to pick your own tea again!
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